Name: Date: Ms. Hepner English 10R. Steps to Writing a Critical Lens Essay

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1 Name: Date: Ms. Hepner English 10R Critical Lens: Introduction Steps to Writing a Critical Lens Essay 1. Recopy the critical lens statement (the quote) word for word and leave it in quotation marks. Be sure to state who said the quote or to note that it was stated by an anonymous speaker. Examples: William Shakespeare once said, All the world s a stage. An anonymous speaker once said, Literature is the building block of life. 2. Interpret the critical lens. In other words, put the quote in your own words. In other words, stories deal with real life problems that real people deal with. 3. State whether you agree or disagree with the statement and explain why. This is true in most works of literature because in literature, as in life, the protagonist is faced with many conflicts against other characters, nature, society and him or herself. 4. Finally, give the title, author and genre (TAG) of the books you are about to discuss and the literary elements, and connect them to the quote. Be sure to include proper punctuation around the title of the story. In the drama, Othello, by William Shakespeare, and the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, the main characters face many conflicts that individuals struggle with today, as seen through their development as characters and through the treatment of the themes. Now take a look at the sample introduction in its entirety: An anonymous speaker once said, Literature is the building block of life. In other words, stories deal with real life problems that real people deal with. This is true in most works of literature because in literature, as in life, the protagonist is faced with many conflicts against other characters, nature, society and him or herself. In the drama, Othello, by William Shakespeare, and the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, the protagonists face many conflicts that individuals struggle with today, as seen through their development as characters and through the author s treatment of the themes. As you can see, the last sentence is your thesis, or the main idea of the essay.

2 Introduction: Using the steps you have learned for writing a critical lens introduction, use the lines provided below to draft the introduction you will use for your essay. 1. Recopy the critical lens statement (the quote) that you have chosen from the assignment sheet word for word and leave it in quotation marks. 2. Interpret the critical lens. In other words, put the quote in your own words. 3. State whether you agree or disagree with the statement and explain why. 4. Finally, give the title, author, and genre (TAG) of the books you are about to discuss, as well as the literary elements, and connect them to the quote. Be sure to include proper punctuation around the title of the story. Remember, this last sentence is your thesis, or the main idea of the essay. When you have completed the four steps you should copy your introduction onto a piece of loose leaf paper. Remember to write your heading and double space your rough draft.

3 Critical Lens: Body Paragraphs The body paragraphs of your critical lens essay are where you will be proving your thesis statement. In other words, in your body paragraphs you will be using specific examples from the book that you read to prove your interpretation of the quote. You should have a minimum of four body paragraphs, each with a focused topic sentence. The topic sentence is the first sentence of each body paragraph and should include a subject and a focus. Here are a few sample topic sentences that could go along with the sample introduction you have already read. Examples of topic sentences: Othello, the protagonist of the drama, is faced with a conflict that many individuals face today: jealousy of another person. Another conflict which Othello deals with during the drama is struggling to manage a debilitating physical condition. Furthermore, like real people, the character Othello faces the common inner conflict of not always knowing who he can trust. Atticus, a main character in the novel, faces the moral dilemma of choosing to stand up for what is right even though he knows it might bring danger to his family. The narrator, Scout, must learn to treat others with respect even if she does not agree with their actions. Each of these sentences would be followed by specific examples from the story. Here is a sample body paragraph: Othello, the protagonist of the story, is faced with a conflict that many individuals face today: jealousy of another person. Thanks to lies from his friend Iago, Othello begins to believe that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with another soldier, Michael Casio. Iago, the antagonist of the story who himself is consumed by jealousy of Othello, wants to destroy Othello by driving him mad with envy. By planting a handkerchief that Othello gave his wife is Casio s room, Iago is able to show Othello credible evidence that adds to the tension of the play. Through Iago s deceit, Othello becomes convinced that Desdemona has been unfaithful. In the process, Othello battles the inner conflict of whether or not to let his jealousy rule his actions. Eventually, Othello loses his battle with the green monster and violently lashes out against Desdemona. Unfortunately, jealousy is a vice that dictates the actions of many individuals. Notice how details are focused and back up the topic sentence. The last sentence of this paragraph ties into the interpretation of the quote and wraps up the writer s ideas.

4 Body: First body paragraph topic sentence (1st book and 1st literary element): Proof from the book to back up your topic sentence (jot down ideas): Concluding sentence (connect to your interpretation of the quote): Second body paragraph topic sentence (1st book and 2nd literary element): Proof from the book to back up your topic sentence: Concluding sentence (connect to the quote):

5 Third body paragraph topic sentence (2nd book and 1st literary element): Proof from the book to back up your topic sentence: Concluding sentence (relate it to the quote): Fourth body paragraph topic sentence (2nd book and 2nd literary element): Proof from the book to back up your topic sentence: Concluding sentence (related it to the quote): After you have outlined your ideas for your body paragraphs here you should begin drafting on loose leaf paper. These paragraphs should follow directly after your introduction. Remember to double space your rough draft.

6 Critical Lens: Conclusion The conclusion of your critical lens essay is also very important. Here you will revisit your thesis statement, whether you agree or disagree with the quote and sum up what you said in the body paragraphs. 1. Recopy the critical lens statement (the quote) word for word in quotation marks noting the source. An anonymous speaker once said, Literature is the building block of life. 2. State whether you agree or disagree with the quote and restate which piece of literature you discussed. This is true in most works of literature, especially in the drama Othello and the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. 3. Revisit the main points you made in your body paragraphs. In these texts, the main characters struggle with realistic conflicts. Othello must deal with the jealousy he feels towards Michael Casio. As a result, his good judgment is replaced with a jealous rage. Many of Othello s problems stem from his inability to tell a friend from any enemy. Likewise, Atticus must deal with a difficult moral decision in a racist Southern town. In addition, the naive narrator must mature and learn to respect all individuals. 4. Make one final observation to sum up your thoughts. These famous works of literature show that while outside influences can affect a person drastically, ultimately a character s inner strength leads him to either triumph or be defeated. Now take a look at the sample conclusion in its entirety: An anonymous speaker once said, Literature is the building block of life. This is true in most works of literature, especially in the drama Othello and the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In these texts, the main characters struggle with realistic conflicts. Othello must deal with the jealousy he feels towards Michael Casio. As a result, his good judgment is replaced with a jealous rage. Many of Othello s problems stem from his inability to tell a friend from any enemy. Likewise, Atticus must deal with a difficult moral decision in a racist Southern town. In addition, the naive narrator must mature and learn to respect all individuals. These famous works of literature show that while outside influences can affect a person drastically, ultimately a character s inner strength leads him to either triumph or be defeated.

7 Conclusion: Using the steps you learned for writing a critical lens conclusion, use the lines provided below to draft the conclusion you will use for your essay. 1. Recopy the critical lens statement (the quote) word for word in quotation marks noting the source. 2. State whether you agree or disagree with the quote and restate which piece of literature you discussed. 3. Revisit the main points you made in your body paragraphs. 4. Make one final observation to sum up your thoughts. When you have completed the four steps you should copy the conclusion onto your loose leaf paper. Remember to double space your rough draft.

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